- "Your Karate is a joke!"
- ―Mike Barnes [src]
Michael "Mike" Barnes (also referred to as simply "Mike", "Dynamite" Mike Barnes, "Tournament Terror" and "Karate's Bad Boy") is the tertiary antagonist of The Karate Kid Part III. He is played by Sean Kanan. Mike Barnes is a professional karate fighter who was hired by Terry Silver to defeat Daniel LaRusso at the tournament in exchange for 25% (later 50%) ownership of his new Cobra Kai dojos. Barnes harasses and torments Daniel throughout the film, but is defeated by Daniel later at the tournament.
Concept and CreationEdit
When the character was created, Mike Barnes was originally written as a skilled but amateur Karate student who came from a family that trained all of their children in Karate. As evidenced by an early screen test with the then-cast Jonathan Avildsen, Mike Barnes was originally conceived as more of an obsessed fan of Daniel, who respected his skill at Karate and wanted to beat Daniel at the All-Valley tournament for personal reasons, as his two brothers had in the past (both had held the title for five years). This backstory would also put his origin from the Los Angeles area and not from elsewhere in the country. However, instead of simply winning the tournament, Barnes wanted to win "the right way", by traditionally beating the previous champion. This initial portrayal of Barnes was more of a Chozen-type honor-focused character who initially seemed somewhat pleasant. In this original version, Mike was less outright aggressive and more faux affably evil, trying to passive-aggressively manipulate Daniel into competing against him by first complimenting him and then beginning to take a darker tone when Daniel refused. This backstory also mentioned that Mike had been training to fight in the tournament since he was fourteen.
However, the filmmakers ended up re-writing the script and it was decided that Jonathan Avildsen would not work out for the newer Mike Barnes the filmmakers wanted, a taller, more muscular, physically imposing and intimidating nationwide Karate champion. The newer Mike Barnes was written to be more aggressive, less friendly and without any motive other than personal wealth. It is likely that they made this change to raise the stakes to Daniel fighting an unhinged and greedy professional Karate fighter, as well as to cement the wealth and power that Terry Silver had access to, and the lengths he was willing to go to humiliate Daniel and Mr. Miyagi. Since the filmmakers had been previously impressed by Sean Kanan's intimidating audition (Kanan made sure to intimidate Ralph Macchio to be remembered by the filmmakers who had already seen thousands of other hopefuls), they called Sean Kanan back and told him that he got the role. However, Jonathan did such a great job on his early Mike Barnes screen tests, that the filmmakers wrote the character of Snake for him, a character who was much closer to Avildsen's original portrayal of Mike Barnes.
- "You back out of this and this will seem like a pretty nice dream compared to what we all will do to you... and her."
- ―Mike Barnes threatens Daniel and Jessica [src]
Mike Barnes is an aggressive, competitive, intimidating and highly-skilled Karate champion. Barnes is known for breaking the rules of conduct which earned him the name of "the Bad Boy of Karate". Barnes is also very arrogant due to his skills and also greedy, as shown when he demanded 50% ownership in the Cobra Kai Dojo chain just for competing against the much less skilled Daniel LaRusso in the All-Valley Tournament. Mike Barnes is a brutal and ruthless fighter in and outside the ring, as shown when he and his goons beat up Jessica, threatened to kill Daniel and even vandalized Mr. Miyagi's bonsai store just to get Daniel to compete in the tournament. It is often believed that Mike Barnes is just as skilled as Chozen in The Karate Kid Part II, if not more so, since Mike Barnes did Karate for a living. Barnes is also a bigger threat than Chozen from a moral standpoint, because he has no sense of honor whatsoever. Barnes committed numerous crimes over the course of the film, including assault, stalking and vandalism. Barnes claimed that if Daniel did not enter the tournament, he would come after him every day for the rest of his life. In further attempts to coerce him to enter, Barnes destroyed almost the entire Bonsai store Miyagi and Daniel built and even threatened to kill Daniel and Jessica if he did not agree to the tournament. Once there, Barnes was so ruthless that Daniel did not even want to continue the fight because he was afraid of what Mike might do to him. Barnes also beat Daniel so badly to the point where he could not get off of the mat, and proceeded to profanely and angrily berate him for almost a solid minute about his teacher and his Karate, both of which he deemed a "joke", hurling in numerous racial slurs to Miyagi and insults to Daniel as well. This is a feat of sheer vileness that no other Karate Kid villain even came close to doing. Mike is often thought of as Daniel's worst nemesis in the Karate Kid films and somewhat of Daniel's true opposite.
Fictional Character BiographyEdit
Not much is known about Mike Barnes's early life. But it is known that he is a highly skilled and vicious karate fighter who has won numerous karate tournaments in the past. Because of that, he got the nickname of "Karate's Bad Boy" in a magazine.
The Karate Kid Part IIIEdit
- "COME ON, GET UP! Get on that line! GET ON THAT LINE, LARUSSO! You're WORTHLESS! Your slope teacher's nothing! Get up, man! You're no champion! Get up! You suck, LaRusso! You SUCK, man! And your teacher's karate is SHIT! You hear me! It's SHIT! You're a joke, LaRusso! Your karate's a JOKE and your teacher isn't worth shit! He's NOTHING! HE'S NOTHING! And YOU'RE NOTHING! I OWN you! I OWN YOU, LARUSSO! Where's your little Jap teacher now, huh? He's a PHONY, man! He's a FAKE! And he didn't teach you NOTHING! Your karate's SHIT! YOU HEAR ME! GET UP!"
- ―Mike Barnes relentlessly taunting Daniel during the All-Valley Tournament [src]
Terry Silver spotted Mike in a magazine and tells him on the phone that he wants him to fight Daniel and defeat him at the next All Valley Karate Tournament and will give him 25% ownership of his new Cobra Kai dojos he is going to open. When Barnes arrives at Silver's house, he is introduced to two teenagers from Terry's neighborhood named Snake and Dennis, who will take care of him and his training. Barnes tells Silver that he wants 50% ownership. Silver finds this to ambitious and requests 35%. Barnes thanks Silver and starts to leave. Impressed at the young man's moxie, Silver gives him 50%. When Silver finds out that Daniel is not defending his title this year, he orders Barnes and Snake to force Daniel to enter the tournament. When Barnes confronts Daniel at Mr. Miyagi's bonsai shop, he asks him to sign an application so that he will fight at the tournament. Daniel tells Barnes that he has no reason to fight, but Barnes tells him that his financial future will be ruined if Daniel does not fight him at the tournament. Daniel still refuses and Barnes angrily prepares to fight him, but Snake pulls him back and he and Barnes start to leave.
The next night, Barnes and his friends arrive at the shop and interrupts the dinner date of Daniel and his friend Jessica. Barnes asks Daniel if he signed the application, but Daniel didn't and still doesn't want to fight him. Barnes and his friends begin to trash the shop and Dennis fights Daniel, but gets defeated. Jessica knocks out Snake with a pot but gets kicked in the stomach by Barnes, who then fights Daniel. Barnes easily defeats Daniel, but Miyagi arrives and defeats the three men. The gang escape and Barnes threatens that he will come back for Daniel. When Daniel and Miyagi drive Jessica home, Barnes and his gang steal their bonsai trees and leave a tournament application. Daniel and Jessica decide to retrieve a valuable bonsai tree at a cliff and plan to sell it in order to buy a new stock of trees to sell. They did not realize that the "Bad Boy" and his gang are following them. When Daniel and Jessica retrieve the tree, Barnes and his friends retract their climbing ropes and force Daniel to sign the application. After Daniel signs it, Barnes and his friends pull Daniel and Jessica. Snake gets the application from Daniel and tells Barnes that it is already signed. They threaten to drop Jessica unless Daniel gives Barnes the tree. Daniel reluctantly does so, but Barnes breaks it.
Barnes appears at Miyagi's house and beats up Daniel, asking him why he called the cops. Silver, on the next phase of his plan, shows up and "rescues" Daniel. Silver offers to "train" Daniel for the tournament. But Daniel realizes that Silver's teachings has made him a different man and tells Silver that he will not train with him and will not compete at the tournament. Silver reveals that his true agenda was avenging John Kreese, and Barnes and Kreese enter the room. Barnes viciously assaults Daniel until Miyagi arrives and rescues Daniel, who decides to compete at the tournament. Barnes trains for the tournament. At the tournament, Barnes defeats his last opponent in order to face Daniel. Silver and Kreese instruct Barnes to score points and lose them so that Daniel will experience pain for the full three minutes. Then, in sudden death, Barnes will defeat Daniel once and for all. During the match, Barnes did what he was told to do and when the initial round concludes, Daniel determines that he is afraid of Barnes and cannot continue, but Miyagi tells him that his best karate is still inside him and that it is time to let it out. Barnes appears and says awful and meanful things about Daniel and Miyagi. This makes Daniel very angry, prompting him to get up and fight. In the sudden death round, Daniel does the kata. Barnes is confused and doesn't know what to do. After Daniel finishes the kata, Barnes lunges toward him, but Daniel flips him to the ground and punches him, winning the tournament. Barnes, realizing that he has lost, starts pounding the ground in frustration as his deal with Terry Silver is off and Cobra Kai was shut down, presumably, for good.
While Mike doesn't appear in the first season, it is revealed that the Cobra Kai was banned permanently from the All-Valley torunament due to his, Kreese's and Terry Silver's actions in 1985.
Sean Kanan has confirmed that he will be reprising his role as Mike Barnes in Season 2 of Cobra Kai.